Does GPU Need Thermal Paste? (11 Things To Know)

Thermal paste is an essential compound for the CPU as it transfers the heat & keeps the PC cool. But many peoples are confused about whether they need thermal paste for their GPUs or not?

I am a PC builder, and for the past few years, I have built numerous PCs; here in this article, I will clarify all your doubts regarding this topic.

So, Does GPU Need Thermal Paste?

Yes! GPUs need thermal paste to absorb the heat generated by your GPU and then transfer the heat outside. In other words, GPUs need thermal paste to keep the GPU and other PC components cool.

I know that the short answer doesn’t satisfy you; therefore, I have explained each & every topic regarding thermal paste & GPUs below. So, keep reading this article till the end.

Why Thermal Paste Needed for GPUs?

As we all know, the thermal paste is such an essential compound for CPUs because this gray substance allows for an efficient transfer of heat from the internal heat sink of the processor to the base plate or water block of the CPU cooler that is designed to dissipate the heat.

Not only for CPUs, but thermal paste is an essential compound for the GPUs also because this thermally conductive can absorb a good amount of heat from the GPU. Then the heat can easily be transferred to the fans present on the heat sink of the cooling system. This process creates a better cooling mechanism.

As we know that excessive heat can damage our PC components; therefore, GPU’s thermal paste keeps it & other components cool, and as a result, the lifespan of GPUs also increases.

Do GPUs Come with Pre-Applied Thermal Paste?

Yes! Most of the GPUs come with the pre-applied thermal paste between the die and the cooler. But whenever you need to change the cooler, you must change the old thermal paste with new. 

Every GPU has the thermal paste from the factory, but many experts don’t use this; instead, they use the thermal paste of the CPU.

However, if you have an old GPU that is not working correctly, then you need to reapply the thermal paste for better temperatures.

Should You apply Thermal Paste to GPU?

Usually, every GPU comes with the pre-applied thermal paste; therefore, many users don’t prefer to apply a new thermal paste; instead, they use the default one.

But some gamers don’t recommend using this default thermal paste; instead, they recommend buying an aftermarket thermal paste and applying that manually on new GPUs. 

The reason behind this, is the quality of the default thermal paste is not so good & it dried so quickly, which can cause overheating issues. But, the aftermarket thermal paste comes of good quality, and its lifespan is very long, which can protect your CPU & GPU from overheating for an extended period.

Overheating is also related to the framerates. If you don’t use a good quality thermal paste, then there is a chance that you might face overheating problems, which can cause low framerates.

So, overall, if you are a gamer and often overclock your graphics, then it’s a good idea to apply aftermarket thermal paste on GPUs.

Also Read: Does Thermal Paste Need to be Replaced?

Is GPU and CPU Thermal Paste the Same?

Yes! There is no such difference between the GPU & CPU’s thermal paste; the only difference is in the application process. And you can use CPU’s thermal paste on GPU’s to provide additional cooling to it. 

Generally, a graphics card has a lot of additional parts that require cooling, and many GPUs already come with default thermal paste.

If you plan to apply a new thermal paste on GPU, you can use the CPU’s thermal paste inside GPU.

Honestly speaking, our focus should always be on applying thermal paste inside GPUs. If the paste meets the requirements of thermal conductivity and longevity on the surface, then it doesn’t matter which quality thermal paste we are using. Many people also use toothpaste instead of thermal paste; at least you are not doing that.

So, whenever you think of applying thermal paste inside GPU, you don’t need to care which quality thermal paste you are using; instead, you should focus on the application process.

Best Thermal Paste for GPUs

If you are looking for thermal paste for your GPU, then ARCTIC MX-4 (4 g) is the best choice for you, and it is the most sold thermal paste on Amazon.

Let’s take a look at some reasons why you should choose this thermal paste-

  • This paste is made of carbon microparticles, ensuring excellent performance.
  • The durability of this thermal paste is outstanding, and once you apply this, you do not need to use it again for at least eight years.
  • This thermal paste is very easy to apply.
  • It is the most sold thermal paste on Amazon, and more than 45000 people provide good ratings on Amazon.
  • The price of this thermal paste is affordable.

Check the price on Amazon-

Can too much Thermal Paste Kill GPU?

Yes! Too much thermal paste is terrible for GPUs, and if the thermal paste is electrically conductive, then it could kill your graphics card. So, it is good to put the correct amount of thermal paste on GPU. 

On average, the correct thermal paste amount for GPUs is around the size of a grain of rice, and you should apply this to the center.

Before applying thermal paste, you need to check whether it is electrically conductive or not; if it is electrically conductive and you use too much thermal paste, then it can reduce the efficacy of the paste, hinder the heat transfer from the GPU, and it may also cause to spill over the size when pressure is applied.

But, if you are using no-electrically conductive thermal paste, then there is no need to worry about these issues.

Does Laptop GPUs need Thermal Paste?

Yes! Laptop GPUs need thermal paste, and this thermal paste bridges the gap between your GPU and fan. By default, the laptop manufacturer already applied the thermal paste inside. 

Every laptop that comes with the integrated graphics or dedicated graphics has the pre-applied thermal paste because if the thermal paste is not applied, then heat from the component will not be transferred, and your laptop will burn to hell if it doesn’t manage to turn off.

Also Read: Can Thermal Paste affect FPS?

GPU Thermal Paste Lifespan

The thermal paste’s lifespan is based on the materials used in it. However, the GPUs thermal paste lasts between 5 to 10 years on average. The expensive pastes last longer than inexpensive ones. 

However, the lifespan of the default thermal paste with GPU is not so long because the manufacturer doesn’t use good quality thermal paste.

The ARCTIC MX-4 (4 g) thermal paste’s lifespan is very long and will easily last between 8 to 10 years.

GPU Thermal Paste Replacement Time

Although good quality thermal paste lasts so long years after years, but it’s a good habit to replace your GPU’s thermal paste every 2 to 3 years. 

You can install a temperature monitor software on your device to detect the temperature of your GPU. Whenever you notice that your GPU’s temperature surpasses 85 degrees while doing routine tasks, then you have understood that it is the perfect time to replace the thermal paste of your GPU.

Why Should You Change your GPU’s Thermal Paste?

Thermal paste is such an essential component of GPUs as it allows to transfer the heat from your components, and therefore, it’s a good idea to replace your GPU’s thermal paste time by time.

Moreover, it would be best to replace the old thermal paste because the old thermal paste might have air bubbles or it might be dried out & therefore, it loses its efficacy and can’t transfer the heat.

Also Read: Do AMD Ryzen Come with Thermal Paste?

Final Thoughts

Based on all the facts, it can be said that most GPUs come with pre-applied thermal paste, but the quality of that pre-applied thermal paste is not so ]good; therefore, it is recommended by experts to use an aftermarket thermal solution. You can also use CPUs thermal paste or other thermal paste alternatives for the GPUs.

I hope this article is helpful for you. If you want to know more about GPUs, thermal Paste, PC components, and other technology-related things, regularly follow this blog.


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